Here is a vintage 1965 Hilgen Champion Model R2523 electric guitar amplifier. This particular example, serial number G2276, is in very excellent original condition, and includes both the Hilgen 30w head and its matching 2×12″ Hilgen speaker cabinet. Jack Gentul, the founder of Hilgen amps, applied his expertise and knowledge acquired from years of working for Ampeg when designing and crafting his fine New Jersey-made amps. The Hilgen Champion shares a surprisingly similar aesthetic, schematic, and approach to an amp made by another little known company, Sano. Both located in New Jersey, Sano and Hilgen made amps with Jackson Pollock inspired drip painting designs on their otherwise plain beige grill cloths. The relatively obscure Hilgen brand is celebrated by the most fringe of tone connoisseurs, so take advantage of this rare opportunity to buy a very excellent intact example of a very rare amplifier.
Serial Number: G2276
Transformer Codes: 8316402, EP-3169
Speaker Codes: 137 512 (CTS)
Reverb Tank Code: 6521
The Hilgen Champion utilizes: (1) 5AR4, (2) 7591, (2) 12AU7, (1) 12AX7, and (1) 7199 original tubes through the original 2 x 12″ CTS speakers.
As can be heard in the embedded video, the Hilgen Champion sounds absolutely incredible. While the 7591 power tubes (used in the famous Ampeg Reverberocket) give the amp sufficient headroom and gain, the sweetness comes from being dispersed between two 12″ speakers and their closed-back cabinet. Pronounced yet amazingly rich, this amp does sound quite unique, and surprisingly different from amps in similar size, stature, and approach.
Just like an Ampeg Reverberocket, the Hilgen has exceptional sounding reverb, with an original Hammond spring reverb pan. Both the Reverb and the Vibrato work perfectly and sound fantastic.
Most online observers have noted that the 7591 power tubes are the defining attribute, in that, the 7591 power tube is similar to a beefed up EL84, and uses more B+ voltage while producing less wattage than a 6L6 (the tube to which it is commonly compared). This results in an American-ized 18-watt Marshall-esque tone.